Colossians 3:15 (CEB): “The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people.”
In these times of struggle, it seems impossible to think of giving thanks. With Thanksgiving approaching, it may be a good time to think about just that. The above verse seems to ask a lot of us. To be at peace and be thankful can seem almost impossible at times.
In a children’s message given in one of our churches not long ago, the leader showed us that the idea of Thanksgiving has actually been around for a very long time, even before our traditional holiday of Thanksgiving originated. There was a Thanksgiving offering mentioned in Leviticus 7:11 many years ago. Here are a couple of interesting things about this passage. The offering of thanksgiving was to be of both unleavened and leavened bread. The bible uses leaven to represent bad things, so it seems that we should give thanks for both the good and bad in our lives. That would not make any sense if God were not in control.
There was a time that my arm became infected sending me to the hospital, and that led to a person getting help he needed. While waiting for me to be treated, my wife ministered to him and helped him get into much needed counseling. As much as I hated being in the hospital, I am thankful we were there for his sake.
I have relatives who have left the state to find work. This is sad to me but they are able to touch lives where they are now and that is a good thing. Strangely, this has somehow brought us closer together as well. Many of you have similar things happening in your own lives I know, and this can make looking for blessings a challenge.
Another thing about the instructions for the thanks offering from our scripture in Leviticus is that unlike other offerings, the food is not to be burned up completely but it is to be eaten and shared. That part sounds familiar! This brought people of every type, family, tribe and status together to share a meal of thanksgiving. Sounds like something we could all use, a time to forget our troubles and to concentrate on our blessings!
It is sometimes hard to celebrate when things are not going well, but it is important to remember that God promised to always be with us. We can celebrate each other as God has brought us together. We can celebrate our relationship with God and we can say thanks that things aren’t much worse and we may be able to help, even in our state, others who are worse off.
I offer a prayer of thanks for all of you: May God reveal himself to you in ways you never expected and may He bless you as so many of you have blessed me. May you find a time of peace and may that peace be with you always.
Pastor Darryl Miller
Sand Lake UMC – 65 W. Maple, Sand Lake
South Ensley UMC – 13600 Cypress, Sand Lake